Thursday, April 28, 2022

Really Random Thursday, 4/28/22

 Aaron and Christa were on a much-needed weekend away, so the grandkids were with us Friday afternoon through late Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, Charlotte was babysitting, and Gabe and Ella were at a birthday party, so Mark and I took Levi to Cold Stone, his favorite for ice cream. I tried to sneak a photo of him. You really have to be sneaky because he doesn't like his photo taken. This is what I got.

Our niece, Christina, sent us the coolest puzzle of Minnesota. She bought it off the shelf in a bookstore, and they warned her they could not guarantee that all the pieces would be there. Gabe spent a couple of hours putting it together, and sure enough, one piece was missing. It's still really cool, and his next project is to glue all the pieces to the frame.

Jasmine is blooming all around Fresno. I love its spicy scent, but Mark is not a fan. 
I'm not sure what this is--it blooms outside the master bedroom window and is also quite strong. There were a lot of bees buzzing around in this one.
And that's it for the last week of April.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

WIP Wednesday

 It seems like I have been doing a lot of sewing in the past week. Here is what I have to show for it. 

I had a crazy idea for the Color Commotion quilt, the one with the colored center squares. Turns out it was a hideous idea! Even though this batik contained all the colors in the blocks, once I sewed it on, I absolutely hated it.

Even Mark, who always gives me very good feedback, said, "Are you sure you like that?" at which point I knew I was on the wrong track! So I got out my trusty Jack the Ripper and took that border off, and added a solid black border. Whew. SO much better.

I'm still calling it Color Commotion, but the black border has a calming effect that I really like. I briefly toyed with the idea of using the batik as the backing. After all, I have six yards of it. (Why?? Apparently I loved it so much when I purchased it 10+ years ago.) But no. Not even for the backing. I'm donating it. I'm sure there is someone out there who will make something beautiful out of it, but that someone is not me. Instead I'm going with a great print by Giucy Giuce. Understated, with just the right pops of color.

 Jettstream, for which I'm writing a pattern, will have no border.

I used three sample blocks for the backing, along with a lovely blue shot cotton, and it's so very soft.
I only made one block for my blocks of the week. It was a "catch up" week for the Riley Blake challenge so a new block won't drop until next Tuesday. I haven't received the block yet today for Moda Block Heads 4, but they released another bonus block last week, so I quickly made that one yesterday, Mix and Match designed by Michelle White for Moda Fabrics.
And finally, I completed another Double Ruby Ring, 7 out of 16.
My progress so far.

April  Monthly Report:
Used up/donated: 28 yards
Brought in: 4 yards
Net: -24 yards
Year to date: -112 yards

And that's it for this week.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Really Random Thursday, 4/21/22

 I enjoyed these big billowy clouds on one of my walks last week.

And though you can't really see them, for the first time (that we know of, anyway) we had yellow finches on the seed sock in the back yard.

Easter was a lovely day. The service at church was very good, and like last year, they had a photo op location set up.

Grandkids and friends. I love that they have known these kids all their lives.

We had our traditional Easter lunch of crepes, just the eight of us again this year. It was a beautiful afternoon.

Easter egg hunting...

This year all the candy was something other than chocolate--Starburst minis, Jelly Belly gummies, sour patch strips...after all the small eggs were filled, there was still  some left over and I didn't want it around the house (I have no willpower...and I don't even like fruit-flavored candy!). Then I remembered I have goose egg sized plastic eggs, so I divided all the left overs into four eggs, one for each.

Time for a little bit of baseball.

I thought this was funny. All four kids will be spending a couple of nights with us this weekend so will this come true?

Til next week...

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

WIP Wednesday, 4/20/22

 Progress was made this week on a couple of things.

I'm still caught up on both blocks of the week.

This is Block 13 of the Riley Blake Designs challenge 2022, Double Cross, designed by Sue Daley.

And Block 5 of the Block Heads 4 by Moda Fabrics, Two of Five, designed by Barbara Groves of Me & My Sister Designs. I always find this interesting as I'm sure it is just a new name for an old block. But it was nice to have a block that went together so quickly.

I worked for several days on Jettstream 2.0, the version with all-black center squares.

These were two of my favorite blocks out of the 20 new ones.

Then came the hardest part for me, even though I enjoy it--trying to place the blocks in such a way that the same colors aren't too close together. It's a toss up sometimes.

 You fix one problem but create three more problems. I'm willing to move things around once or twice, and then I just leave it alone.

I'm happy with this version. I have a wild and crazy idea for the first version.

Now to get busy and write up the pattern...

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Really Random Thursday, 4/13/22

 Last Saturday, after two (two!!) years of virtual sales due to the pandemic, the West Coast Mennonite Relief Sale was held in person at Fresno Pacific University. In case you are wondering what this entails, it is a sale that supports the work of Mennonite Central Committee, which works in over 50 countries. MCC helps to meet immediate needs of survival during times of crisis like hurricane or war, and also works to provide better access to food, water, health care and education. Given what is currently happening in the world, it is of note that it began in 1920 with its original goal to provide food for Mennonites who were starving in Ukraine. It is a wonderful charitable organization where the majority of donations go to relief rather than admin. 

Anyway...there were some changes this year in how the sale was run. It is usually a two-day event, 4-9 p.m. on Friday, and then 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. There is a huge quilt auction held in the gym, and lots of food booths outside. This year the entire sale was held outside and it only took place on Saturday.

I feel like I hardly took any pictures this year. 

Aaron was in charge of handing out the bid numbers. 

Even the quilt auction was held outside. This year there were about 100 quilts up for auction, while normally there are 200+. But there was so much energy. It was a beautiful day and people were so glad to have the sale happening in person again. 

Several years ago I donated a kit that had been sitting around in my sewing room for years. It was called Amish with a Twist 2 (designer Nancy Rink). It is a really large quilt, something like 100"x 100" and when I realized I probably wasn't going to get around to it any time soon, I donated the kit to our church quilting group. My friends, Barbara Janzen and Gisela Bigbee, sewed the top together, and then it was quilted by Jeri Carney (@athreadabove). It was absolutely stunning, and in fact a partial image was used in the marketing postcards that were mailed out about the sale. 

There was so much excitement when it finally came up for auction, and the price kept going higher and higher. It ended up selling for $13,000! I didn't do anything more than donate the fabric and pattern, but it was thrilling to have been even such a small part. So much good will be done with the funds from just this one quilt. I'm not sure how much the quilts went for overall, but I heard that the quilts donated from our church alone raised $40,000!

I kind of forgot that I had donated this small flowering snowball quilt (hand quilted by Lori Wall), and Mark and I had gone home before it came up for auction. It turned out that Christa and Jason were bidding against each other, and when they realized that, decided only one should do the bidding and they would split the cost.  Our pastor and his wife just had a new baby and I think this quilt went to them, which makes me very happy.

And fritters were back this year! Hot and fresh and so very yummy!

I took this right before we left (and didn't realize my camera was in portrait mode, so only Gabe is in focus).
This year seemed extra special. We were finally able to connect with people we hadn't seen for a long time, eat good food and know that the money raised was going to such a worthy cause.

On Sunday the kids from church did a short drama about Jesus' last days before His crucifixion. Gabe had the part of Jesus. 

The Last Supper.

The whole cast (being kids...)

On Tuesday, when the kids were over for awhile, we went to a local coffee shop and played a couple rounds of Uno. Fun times.

That's it for this week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

WIP Wednesday, 4/13/22

 It is spring break here in Fresno, which doesn't really make much of a difference in our daily schedule for Mark or me--although he has umpired six softball games in the last two days. But yesterday, since Christa and Aaron were both working, and the kids were out of school, they came over for a bit.

Charlotte and Gabe (and ultimately Aaron as well, I think) want to learn to crochet. So I set out to accomplish that. Gabe got as far as learning the foundation chain and then he moved on to something else.

Charlotte kept practicing the foundation chain, while Gabe sewed a Tubby Wubby, cute little felt creatures (and Levi was either playing a game or texting a friend).

Gabe finished Coney, the Sausage Dog (they all have really cute names).

Charlotte came back over last night and we learned the single crochet (confusingly called double crochet in the UK). At the same time, she introduced us to the movie, Sonic the Hedgehog, which Mark and I both really liked.

I didn't realize that Mark snapped a picture of us during the crochet lesson. Definitely not the most flattering picture of me, but I kinda like it anyway.

Charlotte also took home the other Tubby Wubby kit, the little Yeti, and sewed it together as well. Her hand stitching is looking good!
And what have I been working on this week? 

Well, I began yet another block of the week, this time called Moda Blockheads 4. This is totally out of character for me, to actually participate in a block of the week at the same time it's going on, and to be caught up!

This is my basic fabric pull, although I will probably add more as I go along. I have pulled from several fat quarter bundles, and I'm pretty sure one was named Peanut Butter and Jelly, so that is the name of the quilt going forward.

Four blocks and a bonus so far.

Block 1, Square Wheel, designed by Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles Quilters

Block 2, Cooee, designed by Jenelle Kent of Pieces to Treasure.

Block 3, Kouign Amann, designed by Laurie Simpson of Minick & Simpson.

Block Bonus 1, Roundabout, by Moda Fabrics.

Block 4, Spinner, designed by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs.

In addition, I'm caught up with the Riley Blake Challenge 2022 blocks.

This is Argyle Square, designed by Melanie Collette of @hellomellydesigns

As I mentioned, this is totally out of character for me, but I actually attribute it to the fact that I'm really working on sewing down my stash this year, so I'm very motivated, coupled with the fact that after a very long time where I didn't feel like sewing anything, or even being in my sewing room, it feels good to be at the sewing machine again.

Charlotte showed me how to do a poll in Instagram Stories. Let me rephrase that: I told her what I wanted, and she did it for me. (Note: she said it was easy, but I don't believe her. I watched her and she did it so quickly that I doubt if I'll be able to do it again myself the next time...)

I have finished as many of the Mischief blocks using Oakshott cottons as I intended to make. So yesterday I trimmed  it (always kind of scary when you are working with EPP), and auditioned the first border, as I have always intended this to be a medallion-style quilt. My question was whether to use these Kaffe Fassett stripes all the way away, or to add some of the dotted batik that is in the center of each Mischief block.

More pollsters thought stripes all around was the way to go, but I'm still unsure of which direction it is headed. At this point, I'm pretty certain that the striped border needs to be about half as wide as it is currently. Having never done an Instagram poll before, it was kind of fun to be able to pull up the results and see who actually voted for each option. 
Finally, I'm back to sewing Jettstream blocks for the version with the black centers. I really think I'm going to like this version so much better than the first one. 
Whew. It was a productive week!